Friday, August 04, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Cutting Yourself Some Slack, GMH Style


Photo by Karsten Würth (@inf1783) on Unsplash


My Own Heart
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst’s all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
‘s not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.


There are a whole slew of reasons why this is the poem for today. It showed up on The Writer's Almanac on July 29, a day when I was feeling like all the work I'd put in for a fundraiser was not going to be enough and the whole thing would be a spectacular failure. (It wasn't. It also wasn't a huge success, but I'm learning to live with good-enough.) It showed up on the brink of back-to-school, and seems as good a reminder as the poem Carol shared last week. While hers was about work, this seems to be about cutting yourself some slack; leaving comfort some "root-room," remaining open to joy sizing "At God knows when to God knows what." And, just...Gerard Manley Hopkins, who makes me slow down to dig out the beauty and meaning in his poems, and who rewards me the way an un-wrung smile (God's or anyone else's) can break through the cloudy skies of life and light up a "lovely mile."

Donna has the Poetry Friday roundup this week -- Padlet style -- at Mainely Write.


15 comments:

  1. Learning to live with the good-enough..... a tough thing for we who lean toward perfectionism! And necessary. Peace lives in that land. Thank you for the reminder. xo

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  2. You had me at Gerard, and the timeliness for me too is a little spooky, as I begin to feel the downward inevitable slide towards end of summer start of the tormented year. "come, poor Jackself, I do advise
    You, jaded, let be."

    And every time, his language knocks my sock off, every time. Happy new year, ML!

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  3. Happy August! May the new school year treat you all wonderfully.

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  4. I have people with whom I need to share this - thank you. I still love me some Gerard - he just... forces you to slow down and really read and savor. ♥

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  5. GMH's language always impresses me so. Great pick, Mary Lee.

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  6. These are lines to ruminate over, and say over. Happy back to school, Mary Lee!

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  7. There are the times when I need to "call off thoughts awhile", the words that touch me, Mary Lee. Finding ways in poetry to discover what comforts is a great thing. Best wishes in your return. And thanks for this poem.

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  8. Good enough. Yes. I need that lesson too. And I love how you said this:

    "And, just...Gerard Manley Hopkins, who makes me slow down to dig out the beauty and meaning in his poems, and who rewards me the way an un-wrung smile (God's or anyone else's) can break through the cloudy skies of life and light up a "lovely mile."

    (That's kind of a poem in itself, I think!)

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  9. Such a wise and soothing poem, Mary Lee. These are words to remember: "My own heart let me more have pity on." Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  10. We are so hard on ourselves! I am grateful that I am not cursed with perfectionism, but when it comes to public events and such, I often feel like my efforts are not good enough. Thanks for this, Mary Lee!

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  11. I'm glad your event was a success. I am very familiar with last-minute nerves, the feelings of doom and regret. GMH is a boon to remembering that all of us have nerves, but it is in the mastering of them that we find our genius.

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  12. I'll never understand how "good enough" became a pejorative. We shouldn't assign degrees of desirability to good!

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  13. Cutting ourselves some slack is one of the hardest things to do. Fundraising is hard, I bet every ounce of your efforts was/is appreciated. Caring also makes a difference so don't stop caring.

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  14. I have to reread this poem...so many thoughts. Got some digging to do.

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  15. There's hope in this last line:
    "as skies
    Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile."And I'm getting more accustomed to not getting everything done, and feeling okay about it! Thanks for this poem Mary Lee!

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